Regulatory overreach? Try regulatory oh-my-God.
Progressive regulators have recently gone on a rampage, trying to destroy the country with bureaucratic insanity as quickly as possible before a libertarian counter-revolution in 2012.
Our first stop is in Arkansas, where the Federal government -- yes, your government, that represents your wishes -- is trying its best to keep drunken drivers on the road (not a typo: on the road):
The federal government has sued a major trucking company for its firing of driver with an admitted alcohol abuse problem.
Alcoholism is classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the suit maintains, and therefore employees cannot be prohibited even from driving 18 wheelers due to their histories of abuse.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the suit against the Old Dominion Freight Line trucking company on August 16, noted that while “an employer’s concern regarding safety on our highways is a legitimate issue, an employer can both ensure safety and comply with the ADA.”
If the EEOC prevails, of course, it will mean that Old Dominion will still be liable both for any damage to life or property that results from a potential relapse by one of its recovering drivers – which in turn increases the risks involved in investment in the company – and for the cost of trying to ensure that such damage never occurs. All of these new burdens will raise Old Dominion’s cost of doing business, and hence the cost of everything they transport. And all of this can’t possibly ensure that a recovering driver does not relapse without the company’s knowledge.
So, it looks like the Feds are trying -- intentionally trying -- to simultaneously make the roads unsafe and hurt the economic climate. A two-fer! Because lord knows we wouldn't want to discriminate against anyone who has the unfortunate tendency to guzzle beers all day and then get behind the wheel of a 20-ton truck so he can weave into oncoming traffic, miss stop lights, and plunge over guard railings. It's not the driver's fault: he's disabled! Disabled with the sad disease of alcoholism. How can we ever expect him to recover if we damage his self-esteem by keeping him off the road?
Next stop: the California legislature, where San Francisco's craziest politician (and that's saying something) has introduced his craziest statewide bill yet, which would essentially bring an end to the concept of "babysitting" as we know it and ensure that parents never be allowed to leave home:
How will parents react when they find out they will be expected to provide workers' compensation benefits, rest and meal breaks and paid vacation time for…babysitters? Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated.
Assembly Bill 889 (authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers.
The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature – and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor's desk.
Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers' compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.
Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys' fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses...
Unfortunately, the unreasonable costs and risks contained in this bill will discourage folks from hiring housekeepers, nannies and babysitters and increase the use of institutionalized care rather than allowing children, the sick or elderly to be cared for in their homes....
This bill will also wreak similar destruction on the senior in-home-care industry. AB 889 will make live-in caretakers and senior companions completely unaffordable, forcing countless seniors into institutionalized living situations, whereas until now they could remain in the comfort of their own homes, with semi-affordable caregivers.
Babysitting? Granny allowed to live with dignity at home? Pshaw. Those are reactionary practices. Nothing shall impede our march toward a progressive future!